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GUMAN SINGH
V.
STATE OF RAJASTHAN & OTHERS

A. FACTUAL MATRIX
The appellant was a member of the Rajasthan Administrative Service. Aggrieved by the order
allotting seniority to him under the Rajasthan Administrative Service Rules, 1954, he filed a
writ petition under Art. 226 in the High Court. A single Judge of the court allowed the
petition. However in appeal by the State the Division Bench decided against the appellant
who by special leave appealed to this Court. Two other members of the Rajasthan
Administrative Service, similarly aggrieved filed writ petitions under Art. 32 before this
Court. The common questions that fell for consideration in the appeal and writ petitions were;
(i) whether section 28B(2) and 32 of the Rajasthan Administrative Service Rule were
violative of Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution because they did not contain any guidelines in
the matter of determining the merit of candidates; (ii) whether the circular dated August 27,
1966 issued by the State Government laying down a system of marking for the purpose of
determining the merit of candidates was invalid because it was contrary to the relevant Rules
in this regard. The appellant also complained that adverse remarks in his confidential report
which had not been communicated to him had been taken into account against him by the
Departmental Promotion Committee.
B. JUDGMENT
Rule 32 in essence adopts what is stated in r. 28B. The latter rule provides for two methods of
selection one based on merit and the other based on seniority-cum- merit. In other words, the
rule provides that the promotion based on merit in contradiction to that based on senioritycum-merit shall strictly be on the basis of merit. The Selection Committee and the Promotion

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Committee consist of very responsible and senior officers of the State and being persons of
experience they can be trusted to evaluate the merits of a particular officer. No doubt the
word merit' is not capable of easy definition, but it can be safely said that merit is a sum total
of various questions and attributes of an employee such as his academic qualifications, his
distinction in the University, his character, integrity, devotion to duty and the manner in
which he discharges his official duties. Allied to this may be various other matters or factors
such as his punctuality in work, the quality and out-turn of work done by him and the manner
of his dealing with his superiors and subordinate officers and the general public and his rank
in the service. The various particulars in the annual confidential reports of an officer is 901
carefully and properly noted, Will also give a very broad and general indication regarding the
merit of an officer. Therefore it cannot be stated that rr. 28B and 32 are in any manner vague
or do not give any guidelines forassessing the merit of an officer. [921B-F] (ii)(a) The
restriction contained in the proviso to sub-r. (2) of r. 28B is quitereasonable. Before an officer
in the junior scale can be considered as fit for promotion to the senior scale it is necessary
that he should have worked on a post in the service at least for some period of time. As to
what the quantum of that period must be is not for this Court to lay down. The Government
has fixed this period as six years. It cannot be said that it is an improper restriction. [922A-B]
(b)The provisions contained in sub-r. (2) confining the selection to senior-most officers not
exceeding 10 times the number of total, vacancies is also reasonable. Such a provision will
encourage the members of the service to aspire for promotion for making themselves eligible
by increasing their efficiencies in the discharge of their duties. [922B-C] (iii)The object of the
impugned circular may be to bring about uniformity in the award of marks. But the directions
contained therein do offend the rules. This is not a case of the Government filling up the gaps
or of giving executive instructions not provided for by or not inconsistent with the rules. No
discretion is given to the selection or promotion committee to adopt any method other than

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that indicated in the circular. According to the principle laid down by this Court in Sant Ram
Sharma's case, if the circular dated August 27, 1966 or any part of it gives instructions
contrary to or opposed to any of the rules, the circular or that part of the circular to that extent
would be invalid. By this test the circular in question was invalid and must be struck down.
(iv)Appellant G had made a specific grievance in his writ petition before the High Court
about the uncommunicated adverse remarks having been taken into account by the
Departmental Promotion Committee. The Division Bench of the High Court was wrong in
holding that since the Committee had not been made a party to the proceedings this question
could not be gone into. The Government which was the appointing authority was a party
before the High Court. It was the duty of the State Government to place before the High
Court all the materials available before it to enable the Court to consider whether the
grievance of the appellant was justified or not. The appellant's case must therefore be
reconsidered in the light of the Rules.
C. MANAGERIAL PERSPECTIVE
The few problem that a manager in such a situation would face are
1. What will the manager consider if there are no any guidelines in the matter of
determining the merit of candidates?
2. If there are two criteria on which the promotions could happen, what would a
manager do if both the categories are in contradiction to each other?
3. In a situation where there is no guidelines laid down to determine seniority and merit,
what legitimacy would a selection committee hold and would its decision would be
considered final?
4. What people should consist of the selection committee?
5. In considering the promotion criteria of seniority-cum-merit, should there be an equal
importance given to merit as it would give the employees an incentive to work in their
best way possible in all fields of the job.
6. What should be the criteria to judge the merit of an employee.
Would the criteria suggested by the court good enough?

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The Selection Committee and the Promotion Committee consist of very


responsible and senior officers of the State and being persons of experience
they can be trusted to evaluate the merits of a particular officer. No doubt the
word merit' is not capable of easy definition, but it can be safely said that merit
is a sum total of various questions and attributes of an employee such as his
academic qualifications, his distinction in the University, his character,
integrity, devotion to duty and the manner in which he discharges his official
duties. Allied to this may be various other matters or factors such as his
punctuality in work, the quality and out-turn of work done by him and the
manner of his dealing with his superiors and subordinate officers and the

general public and his rank in the service.


What is the minimum numbers of years that an employee has to spend in an
office to be considered for the seniority criteria.